State transport buses back on roads in Maharashtra as Unions withdraw strike

Mumbai
21 Oct 2017

State-run buses were back on roads in Maharashtra after four days as employee unions withdrew their strike which was declared "illegal" by the Bombay High Court late on Friday evening.

The High Court had directed the employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), mostly bus drivers and conductors, to end their stir to press for pay hike and resume work immediately. Citing the court order, the agitating unions called off their strike and the employees started reporting to work from Friday late night, according to officials. The MSRTC employees, numbering over one lakh, had been demanding salary in accordance with the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. The Diwali-eve stir had caused hardship to thousands of long-distance passengers planning to travel to their hometowns during the festive season.

"Following the order, the unions of the corporation called off the strike and employees started reporting to their respective depots. However, it will take a few more hours for operations to become normal," said a senior MSRTC official. Nearly 25 per cent of the services were operational by 8 am today and the rest are expected to hit the roads by by afternoon, he said. The decision to call off the agitation, which started from October 16 midnight, was taken during a late night meeting of the core committee of the striking unions. A joint letter issued by various representatives of the bus workers unions said the stir is being called off following the High Court order.

The representatives said they were hopeful a committee appointed by the state government, comprising the finance secretary, the transport secretary, the transport commissioner and the MSRTC MD, would address their issues within a time- frame. In the late evening order, Justice S K Shinde had directed the committee to submit its interim report by November 15 and the final report on December 21. The court was hearing two PILs seeking that the stir be declared illegal. Nearly 65 lakh people travelled by MSRTC buses every day, the petitions said.